As the director of a teen travel program and someone that has always believed in evidence based practice, I try to stay up to date with the most recent research and information regarding teenagers. I think everyone with a relationship to a teenager can say anecdotally that electronic devices and social media often have a negative impact, whether it’s attention span, less exercise, reduction in social skills, or something else. We all have our examples. The article linked below outlines a variety of scary statistics that are unequivocally affecting teenagers. Before you read on in this blog, I highly encourage you to read the article from start to finish. That way we’ll be on the same page.
Click here to read the article: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/
Ok. You’ve read the article! Now what? Do you sulk in the damage that’s been done? Take away the phone and throw your teen in the forest to learn life skills? No, I don’t think so. First, your teen should read the article too. This will help with buy-in, understanding, and acceptance. After that, I think a good old-fashioned conversation may be the trick, along with some established boundaries agreed upon by parent and teen alike. Oh, and buy an alarm clock!
But what about the summer? With more free time, teens seem to be choosing more time on devices. Of course, my recommendation as the director of a teen travel program is that your teen joins my teen travel program… Clearly there’s some bias. But seriously, if not Zeal Adventure and Travel, please help your your teen get off social media as much possible! Zeal is an easy way to accomplish this because we don’t allow participants to have their phones, save for once a week when they call home. They also get to travel independently of you, try new things, make new friends, earn community service hours, and experience tremendous personal growth all while having a great time under the supervision of our trip leaders. It’s essentially the antidote to what ails them. But again, if not Zeal Adventure and Travel, choose something. Anything. Band camp, a family trip, a summer job, anything that will take your teen off their phone for a while.
I hope this blog and linked article have left you feeling ready to make changes. And what good timing with the New Year coming up! If you’re ready to talk about how to make this summer one of positive change and growth, please get in touch! Enrollment is open, and I can’t wait to talk to you.
Your partner in adventure,
Director, Zeal Adventure and Travel